by Miriam Jorna (Goudhurst juniors)
A lovely morning to gather near the famous castle of Tonbridge for their 362th parkrun. To my surprise I even met the regional ambassador in real life, where we had only tried to communicate via zoom calls so far.
This event was a very special one. For me, at least. I’ve been a parkrunner for a good 9 years now; the bug really bit six years ago. In that time my brother developed from a football player to a Serious Runner. However it took until this weekend for him (and his spouse) to try and stop my nagging by finally running a parkrun. Life goals! Better still – they actually liked it. No wonder because Tonbridge is a cheerful event.
I’m an avid tourist and was pleased to see that one of the first people we met was a gent who tried to portray a cute little cow toy in the best light while balancing it on the parkrun name sign. He’d done about 50 different venues and I imagine he has a lot of travel ahead of him... Remember, your barcode gives access to any parkrun in the world!
A big thank you to this week’s volunteers: Ashley ALI, Yashvi ARORA, Kevin BARNES, Mick BARSTOW, Philip BENTON, Caroline BROOKS-JOHNSON, Neil BROOKS-JOHNSON, Remy BROOKS-JOHNSON, James BURGESS, Maria BYRNE, Graham CURRY, Amy FUNNELL, Virginia GILLECE, Laura GROVE, Sarah HALSTEAD, Peter HORNE, Miriam JORNA, Anthony LESTER, Kirsten LESTER, Catherine MOORE, Justine NORRIS, Paul OBEY, Eloise POTEL, Milena ROBERTSON, Joanne ROWE, Sarah SHEWELL, Charis SLATER, Juniper SLATER, Graeme VEALE, Penny WARR, Richard WILSON, John WINCHESTER, Lauren WRIGHT, Jennifer YEATS-BROWN and Joanna YEATS-BROWN. I know several of them gave up their own run to let us participate. Many thanks because without volunteers parkrun cannot happen!
Would you like to be part of the team or just help out on a day you don’t feel like running? Do drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The tasks are easy and diverse, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
At the briefing we heard that currently there’s a special appeal to get more far-away marshals, since that’s a task that cannot fall on the underage DofE volunteers.
On this sunny morning 454 participants were sent around the lonely cone and then the lake. Of the 436 who brought their barcode, some great efforts were registered in the results: Sandy FARALL achieved an impressive 80.51% age grade followed by Ali FARALL at 80.16%. Highest scoring male was Adrian MARSHALL with 80.03%.
No less than 70 people achieved a new personal best for this course.
Of the 33 participants who ran this course for the first time, a beautiful 16 did their first ever parkrun. Woohoo! Long may you enjoy doing many more (but be careful – parkrun is quite addictive). Ten people did just that and came for their second parkrun. Well done.
Ray PRICE, Amelia ROSS and Zak WINFIELD celebrated their 25th parkrun finish. That’s a purple shirt. Mandy LOCK finished her 50th parkrun. She may soon be seen in a red shirt. Richard BARRY did his 100th parkrun and earned the right to run in a black shirt. Nicholas HESLOP finished his 250th parkrun! For the next five years (until he reaches the blue of 500) he may be seen in a green shirt. Congratulations to all.
This is about the only reason I regret being a slow participant... I haven’t seen any cake.
If you’re a travelling parkrunner like me, or if you are checking this page to see if you should try out this parkrun thing (like my brother), you’ll want to know this: underfoot is a mixture of tarmac, gravel forest tracks and grass, so your choice of suitable running shoes depends on the weather; on a dry day you can get away with road shoes, most other days you’re better off with trail shoes. The route is flat including the many bridges, except for the first/last one.
This is one of the bigger parkruns with normally 400-500 participants. Never did it feel crowded to me though. Other park users are dog walkers, cyclists and fishers; I found them all quite accommodating. Ablutions and coffee are found at the swimming pool nearby.
Do give this parkrun a go!